Empyrium
Where at Night the Wood Grouse Plays


4.0
excellent

Review

by Adam Thomas EMERITUS
May 29th, 2009 | 45 replies


Release Date: 1999 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Empyrium drop the metal to create the perfect soundtrack for Renaissance fairs

With their first two releases, 1995's A Wintersunset and 1997's Songs of Moors and Misty Field, Empyrium wove together the raspy vocals and old lore of Folk Metal with the somber orchestrations found in Doom. The results were, to put it lightly, most epic. Instead of treading in the same path with their third album they pulled a stylistic one-eighty. Everything that could be “heavy” was thrown out the window. The result was 1999's Where At Night the Wood Grouse Plays.

Where At Night the Wood Grouse Plays is thirty-two minutes of stunning, stripped down neo-folk. The distorted electric guitars and mournful leads that dominated Empyrium's earlier work have been replaced with gentle finger-picked nylon strings, creating an overall feeling of mystical wonderment. The warm acoustic guitar is occasionally accompanied by some flute work, but that's about it, no drums, no keys. When vocals are used it is in a harmonious fashion with the louder of the two taking the low. The heavily German accented vocals add to the medieval sound of the record. This vocal style fits perfectly with lyrics like “Be still, O wand'rer!/Dost thou not hear the sad song of night?/How the wind does beckon thee to the rest of a while and to lend him thine ear?”. When put together with the traditional folk of the acoustic guitars, the resulting sound is somewhere between the soundtrack to any Tolkien inspired fantasy film and the music at a Renaissance fair. And yes, that's a good thing.

With Where At Night the Wood Grouse Plays Empyrium took a chance and it turned out wonderfully. They would continue to work with the sound that they first used on ...Wood Grouse... on their subsequent releases, though none would work as well as it did here. Where At Night the Wood Grouse Plays is a simplistic yet gorgeous piece of neo-folk that never overstays its welcome and makes a fitting introduction to the genre for those who have yet to hear it. Fans of Ulver's Kveldssanger will eat this up.



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user ratings (138)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Athom
Emeritus
May 29th 2009


17241 Comments


My brain is fried from studying for finals/research papers. Short review is short.

Hawks
May 29th 2009


51193 Comments


Short, but good review. I've only heard Songs of Moors and Misty Fields and I love it. This sounds great too so I'll end up checking it out sooner or later.

Digging: Cytotoxin - Gammageddon

ThusSpokeZarathustra
May 29th 2009


293 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Beautiful album. Almost as good as Kveldsangger.

rasputin
May 30th 2009


14897 Comments


empyrium's folk stuff is so contrived

Willie
Moderator
May 30th 2009


17288 Comments


I was told if I liked Kveldssanger than I'd like this too... It wasn't true. Nice review, though.

Digging: Samael - Hegemony

fireaboveicebelow
May 30th 2009


6832 Comments


frankly kveldssanger is overrated but still enjoyable, I'm guessing by the two previous posts I shouldn't get this but this is a cute review kudos

Mendigo
May 30th 2009


2299 Comments


pos'd.

kveldsanger is still better, but this one's great as well.

Doppelganger
May 30th 2009


3124 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

album rocks

Metalstyles
Emeritus
May 30th 2009


8570 Comments


very good review, but I am def. not sure if I'd like this. Maybe I shall still give some of the songs a go and see what turns out

KYZAR
May 30th 2009


513 Comments


i like their heavier stuff much better than this.

plutosatanclubhouse
May 30th 2009


142 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

good review, damn fine album

Wizard
May 31st 2009


20114 Comments


Review is the equivalent of having intercourse with a midget. Short, sweet, and to the point without any circus tricks. By not hearing a single note from these guys, am I missing out?

Athom
Emeritus
May 31st 2009


17241 Comments


If you want to check them out I'd rec Songs of Moors and Misty Field. Its kinda like early katatonia playing folk metal.

Wizard
May 31st 2009


20114 Comments


I don't know what early Katatonia sounds like but it certainly sounds like something up my alley. Thanks.

Hawks
May 31st 2009


51193 Comments


Yeah Songs of Moors and Misty Fields is fucking great.

BallsToTheWall
May 31st 2009


48093 Comments


Killer album. Ace review.

Digging: Root - The Book

seedofnothing
December 14th 2011


3425 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

m/









Hordewolf
December 14th 2011


353 Comments


Weiland > this.

seedofnothing
December 14th 2011


3425 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

They both offer unique emotions independently.

ShousoStrip
December 14th 2011


574 Comments


I love Weiland and WANTWGP, but I could never get into SOMAMF.



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